What we do

Community Empowerment

The Community Empowerment Project of Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy promotes focused economic development, stable housing and entrepreneurship in targeted communities.

As many organizations in the Charlotte area work to redevelop the community, there is a substantial need for legal services to support these efforts to ensure that development happens in ways that allow all community members the chance to participate in the process.

Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy is committed to ensuring fairness in the development process in a highly collaborative relationship with many of the key government, quasi-governmental and private non-profit Community Redevelopment Organizations in the area, with the goal of promoting economic development, stable housing and entrepreneurship in targeted communities.

Through the Community Empowerment Project, Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy works in partnership with:

  • The City of Charlotte Neighborhood & Business Services Department to provide legal assistance to eligible low-income homeowners and tenants on targeted rehabilitation projects in low-income neighborhoods. The City of Charlotte surveys neighborhoods and offers home repair loans to tenants and homeowners, with the goal of creating focused economic development in those neighborhoods. When homeowners or tenants in a targeted neighborhood are identified as eligible for city housing repair assistance, they are referred to Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy for a legal consultation.
  • The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Partnership to provide legal assistance to eligible low-income clients in the communities they are redeveloping to assist homeowners, tenants and homeless individuals who are trying to purchase or rent, or remain in their housing. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Partnership is a broad-based, private, non-profit housing development and financial corporation organized to expand affordable and well-maintained housing within stable neighborhoods for low and moderate-income families in the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. The Partnership has developed focused housing programs in the Statesville Avenue Corridor, an area historically impacted by a high concentration of poverty and substandard housing. The Partnership established focused, neighborhood-based projects in Greenville Park at Oaklawn, Druid Hills, Brightwalk, Genesis Park, Danelly and Arbor Glen, with home ownership, family, elderly and veteran rental components.
  • Habitat for Humanity Charlotte Chapter to provide legal assistance to eligible low-income prospective homeowners in the communities it is redeveloping. The Charlotte Habitat Chapter builds new houses primarily in targeted high-poverty neighborhoods with community volunteers, and completes critical repairs to older, owner-occupied homes, serving more than 1,500 low-income families with affordable housing since 1983.
  • Established Community Development Corporations (CDC) to provide requested legal assistance to eligible low-income clients of the CDC communities, including the Lakewood Neighborhood Association, working in one neighborhood with 270 homes, the Friendship CDC affiliated with Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in the Beatties Ford neighborhood, the Belmont CDC in Belmont neighborhood, and the Crossroads CDC in the Grier Heights neighborhood. These efforts are consistent with the redevelopment goals of each CDC’s residents to help grow and enhance neighborhoods.

In addition to these partnerships, the Community Empowerment Project:

  • Collaborates with grassroots community organizations and CDCs to provide limited legal assistance to participants in community economic development entrepreneurship projects
  • Provides specialized legal assistance to CDC and community organizations to ensure their legal needs pertaining to neighborhood revitalization are met
  • Assists with automobile financing and warranty issues that are critical to the success of economic development projects, understanding that homeowners or tenants who cannot get to work, cannot retain their housing

Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy also offers community education on various legal issues affecting the targeted neighborhoods, which is an expansion of the current non-foreclosure legal work targeted at communities that CDC partners identify. We may provide limited services to address private nuisances in the targeted communities, or to provide the assistance necessary to facilitate property acquisition by the CDCs.